This Year, Will it be Linus or Lucy?

LinusI’ve always appreciated the work of Charles M. Shultz…especially the Charlie Brown Christmas special. You remember the story; Charlie Brown was depressed from the commercialization of Christmas and Linus steps in at just the right moment to bring light to his cloudy day. It’s a recurring theme throughout Charlie’s life. There always seemed to be something or someone pushing him around when Linus stepped in to calmly speak truth into his life. Boy, we could really use Linus about now. 

What I like most about the story is Linus’ answer to Charlie’s frustrated question about the meaning of Christmas. He didn’t elaborate or preach he just quoted Luke 2. I’ve often thought about Mr. Shultz’s method when creating that moment. I imagine the temptation would have been to include additional dialogue with it to “complete the scene”, but thankfully he resisted and the truth takes center-stage. 

What about you? Has life pushed you around this year? Is there a “Lucy” taunting you to kick the football? Maybe you feel misunderstood and alone like Charlie did when he came back with the little Christmas tree. If so, I encourage you to seek out the calm steady voice of God’s Word. Sure, life is more complex than a fictional story, but the truth of scripture is the best source of strength when the world’s “Lucy” comes along. So as we celebrate the birth of our mighty Savior, be encouraged by these words: 

  • Jesus really does understand our struggles – Hebrews 4:15-16
  • Jesus literally defeated sin and death – Romans 8:2
  • The Holy Spirit speaks for us when we have no words – Romans 8:26-27
  • He has made us “Super-victors” – Romans 8:37-39
  • The peace of Jesus is unique and eternal – John 14:27 

Merry Christmas!

It Happened on a Friday…

I love Fridays. They’re usually days filled with a sense of accomplishment and anticipation of good things ahead…but not so last week…

On Friday, our nation was shocked by the news of a heinous act in Newtown, Ct. at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The natural question is “Why would someone do such a thing?” It was the question I found myself pondering after hearing the news. We’re now hearing some of the back story of the shooter, which sheds a little light, but still not enough to really understand what caused it. As I thought and prayed for the families there, I was suddenly reminded of where I was the previous Friday and how I had asked the very same question then too…

On Friday of that week before, a small group of us were in Munich, Germany visiting the grounds of the Dachau Concentration Camp. After walking through the various displays, I looked out across the main part of the camp and wondered “Why would they do such a thing?” It’s one thing to read about in a history book, but something totally different to stand in the very rooms where such horrible atrocities happened. It was a powerfully moving and sobering reminder that sin is incredibly ugly. It is the sickness we struggle with and scripture tells us in James 1:15 that sin fully grown brings death. Man’s capacity to do hurtful things is often shocking because we desperately want to believe we’re inherently good, but the evidence reveals otherwise. We need serious help and thankfully it came…  

On Friday 2,000 years ago, the unimaginable weight of mankind’s darkest sins and cruelties were laid on Jesus in a crushing blow of blunt force trauma. The Bible says in Romans 5:8 that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Jesus knows the full scope of sin’s pricetag and still chose to pay it. Our world has been affected in every way by the results of sin entering into creation and only Jesus can bring peace in the middle of such tragedy (John 14:17). My prayer for these dear families is for them to know His peace and for the Christian leaders ministering to them to be strengthened through the power of the Holy Spirit. I hope you will join me in that prayer.

*Editor’s note: Regarding this subject, a common question is, “Why does God allow evil?” Here is a great short article dealing with the question:

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